Interaction Center

On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, stop by the Interaction Center to relax, connect, and have fun. In this space you will find:

  • Bold Café: Recharge at the Bold Café oasis, hosted by the Women of the ELCA. Connect to wi-fi and charging stations for your e-devices, relax in the lounge, and grab a snack or beverage.
  • Art: This interaction center experience will be literally “hands on” as you create a small memento to take on your way from the gathering or to share with others.
  • ELCA Walk for Water: Come visit ELCA World Hunger’s Walk for Water and experience firsthand what it is like to carry a 5-gallon jug of water (41.5 pounds) through a simulated water collection experience. Throughout the simulation, you will follow one of five “stories” through a walking track and learn about the water crisis facing our world. Be part of this transformative experience that you can take back to your congregation!
  • Faith Practices: Connect with members of the ELCA Faith Practices team to learn about and take-home resources to enrich your spiritual care for yourself  and others.
  • Games: De-stress as you meet new people and embrace your collaborative (or competitive) nature by playing a game. Giant Jenga? Connect4? What else will there be? Come and see!
  • Prayer Labyrinth: A meditative walk on the Labyrinth represents the path to our source and center and back out into the world. Take time to pray for and reflect on your call to ministry by walking the Labyrinth.
  • Prayer Stations: Come and encounter God in a fresh way in the Prayer Station area. Engage your senses and pray in any ancient, yet new way that is relevant to our world today. Inspire your imagination to bring back fresh ideas to your congregations. Times are available for someone to pray individually with you.
  • Selfie Booth: Millennials will know what to do. Us older folks can stop by, watch, and learn.
  • Massage: Neck/Shoulder massage stations will be available for 15 minute massages in the Interaction Center. Need we say more? Get there first!
  • Social Media Consulting: Stop by for social media consultation with folks who utilize social media in their daily ministry and can help you define your “first step” or “next step” in social ministry. Social media consultants are committed to helping you figure out a goal custom fit for your skills and experience.
  • Spiritual Direction: “Spiritual direction is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obey  the real Director — the Holy Spirit hidden in the depths of our soul.” — Thomas Merton. Spiritual direction will be offered by trained practitioners at the Gathering. If you are in a time of transition, or would simply like to try spiritual direction for the first time, appointments are available at the main registration area at a cost of $25 per session.
  • Stewardship Coaching: Experience the difference coaching can make in your ministry through an on-site coaching session. Stop by to learn more about the ELCA’s Coaching Ministry and sign up for a brief coaching session as you work to address a stewardship, discipleship, or other leadership challenges in your ministry.

Nearby, you will find contemplative spaces with prayer stations, a prayer labyrinth, and on-site chaplain. Spiritual Direction APPOINTMENTS ARE available TO SIGN UP FOR AT THE REGISTRATION DESK. (1 hr. appointment/$25).


Service Learning

(Note there is a $10 additional cost for each service learning activity)

Visit the award winning Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, the only Presidential Library in the Southeast.  Learn about the life and career of our 39th president and experience a day in the life of a president.  Explore the work he and Rosalynn Carter have done as they traveled throughout the world following the presidency in order to fight disease and promote democracy. See the Nobel Peace Prize received for his important peace work.  Enjoy a stroll on the 35 acres of beautiful grounds with two lakes and Japanese Gardens. Other traveling exhibits are also on display.
Carter Library

Martin Luther King, Jr., a young boy grows up in a time of segregation and becomes a dreamer who is moved by destiny into leadership of the modern civil rights movement. Come hear his story and learn about his birth home and where he played as a child.  Walk in his footsteps, and hear his voice in the church where he moved hearts and minds.  Marvel at how he was an instrument for social change. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Site is a part of the National Park System and one of Atlanta’s top tourist destinations.

Martin Luther King boyhood home

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is one of the few places in the world educating visitors on the bridge between the American Civil Rights Movement and the contemporary struggle for human rights around the world.  Come and explore the fundamental rights of all human beings. Through sharing stories of courage and struggle around the world, gain a deeper understanding of the role you play in helping to protect the rights of all people. Leave inspired and empowered to join the ongoing dialogue about human rights in your own community.

National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Service Project Opportunities



Mercy Community Church project: Spend an afternoon with Atlanta’s Mercy Community Church family  at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Serving the Ponce Corridor for over 11 years, Mercy seeks to work along with neighbors on the streets or in low-income housing in the struggle for life. Participants in this service learning activity will spend the afternoon learning about the ministry, and will assist in preparing a meal for the Mercy family, and guests. This project includes the opportunity to share dinner with the guests that you have prepared it for as well as share in their bible study session.
Sign up at the Registration desk upon check-in. There are 14 spaces available for this trip on Tuesday from 2:00 - 7:00 p.m. including dinner.
Gateway Center/Downtown Atlanta: Engage with the Gateway Center in downtown Atlanta, which provides homeless support services to over 5,000 individuals per year. Participants will receive an orientation followed by service in the clothes closet, the shelter, or meal preparation.
Sign up at the Registration desk upon check-in. There are 14 spaces available for this trip on Tuesday from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Lutheran  Services  of Georgia  – two opportunities:

  1. Letters of Hope: Be a Compassionate Presence to Immigrants in Detention: View the award-winning documentary Locked in a Box about the U.S. Immigration Detention System and learn about immigration detention, the Friends in Hope Visitation Ministry of Lutheran Services of Georgia and resources available from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service for beginning a detention visitation ministry. Then write letters of hope to asylum-seekers and immigrants in detention centers in Georgia.  
    Sign up at the Registration desk upon check-in. There are 14 spaces available for this trip on Wednesday from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
  2. Cultural Exchange Visit with a Refugee Family:  Visit a refugee family resettled by Lutheran Services    of Georgia for an exchange of cultures and friendship. Participants will gather at Rock of Ages Lutheran Church near the refugee community in Clarkston, Georgia to learn about refugee resettlement in Georgia and to prepare for the visits. A LSG staff member will accompany each group visiting a refugee family.
Sign up at the Registration desk upon check-in. There are 9 spaces available for this trip on Wednesday from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.


Beer and Hymns Concert: 20th Anniversary ELCA Fund for Leaders Benefit

2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the ELCA Fund for Leaders program. This scholarship program makes it possible for more and more folks attending seminary to do so affordably. During the first ever Rostered Ministers Gathering, we will have an opportunity to gather for fun and fellowship on Tuesday, August 8th from 8-9:30pm at the Sheraton for "Beer (or your choice of beverage) and Hymns" concert. Jonathan Rundman, Rachel Kurtz, Peter Meyer, Chris Clay, AGAPE, Joe Davis, Justin Rimbo and others will be leading this event. You will be able to hear some of their own music and all of these great musicians leading us in singing some of the great hymns of faith. A free-will offering will be received and will be given to the ELCA Fund for Leaders Program. This concert is part of your registration for this event, so there is not any additional costs. There will be cash bars available.


Stretch and Pray

Join Pastor Murray Finck Tuesday-Thursday morning from 7:00 - 7:45 a.m. for “Stretch and Pray”. This will be held in the carpeted hallway outside the Interaction Center by Georgia 7-12. Finck provides a step-by-step guide to forty stretches, movements, and postures to improve physical and spiritual well-being. The book that he authored is based on this and features photographs and devotional reflections for individuals to use to create their own routines. While on a pilgrimage trek through Thailand, Finck discovered the benefits of daily stretching and quiet prayer. Wear comfortable clothing. Towels for floorwork will be provided.STRETCH AND PRAY

Fellowship of Recovering Lutheran Ministers

The Fellowship recognizes addiction as primary, progressive, predictable, chronic and terminal. Addiction can be arrested at any stage of its development. Recovery from any and all addiction is a spiritual process.

The Fellowship bears witness to this truth at every level in the Church. Lutheran clergy struggling with any form of addiction are welcome in this fellowship. Through FRLC (, during this event, we have made space available in Valdosta for those who wish to meet. It will be available each day from 7:00-8:00 a.m.


Small Group Conversations

“Day of Arising” a beautiful Easter hymn based on the Emmaus Road text, has this compelling verse: Christ, our companion, hope for the journey, bread of compassion, open our eyes. Grant us your vision, set all hearts burning that all creation with you may rise. Christ, indeed, is our companion for this journey. This journey of life … this journey of ministry … this journey of calling us forward together to meet the needs of our neighbors for the sake of the world.

In 2017 the ELCA, together with Lutherans around the world, observes the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. This significant milestone provides an opportunity for this church to look back with joy to our deep theological roots and faith traditions, on our history of being a reformed and reforming church and to a future filled with abundant hope and possibilities.
Propelled by a commitment to Lutheran traditions and to being a community of faith that is always forming and being renewed, the ELCA’s presiding bishop, Church Council and Conference of Bishops initiated Called Forward Together in Christ in late 2015. The process sought to engage the ELCA in conversation about future directions so that the Church Council might reach decisions that help this church journey faithfully and effectively together in the years ahead.
Strategic Directions 2025 is the outcome of that process. Participants in Called Forward Together in Christ – from congregations, synods, the churchwide organization and a wide range of ELCA ministries – resoundingly lifted up similar hopes, concerns and ideas about what should be given importance. The goals and priorities that emerged are not entirely new. They reflect what many in the ELCA already see to be important and draw from other discussions in recent years on the ELCA’s strategic direction, especially Living into the Future Together (LIFT)1.
Called Forward Together in Christ has delivered a strategic framework that will serve shared leadership across the ELCA to realize common aspirations and better face the challenges this church faces. This can’t be done by one person, or one group, or one expression of this church. This work, this visioning, this ministry; requires us all, on our way. . .together.
These small group conversations will allow you as ministers in this church to share your input and to ask for your help in making these goals, realities. You will be randomly assigned a small group and that room is located on your name tag. You will go to the same room with the same small group each day.